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Why do you get appraisals from an outside Certified Independent Gemologist?
An appraisal from a Certified Independent Gemologist will insure that there has been no conflict of interest when valuating a piece of jewelry.
Many jewelry stores employ, or have as part of their staff, someone who has taken a few gemology classes and has earned “certificates.”
However, be advised, a store would love to appraise their own items and can easily inflate the market value or give a much higher grade for a particular stone than someone who only certifies and grades for a living.
A Certified Independent Gemologist means they have no personal skin in the game and his/her living is based on identifying and grading stones, rather than on banking on potential sales.
How can I tell if a gemstone been treated in any way?
There are certain identifying characteristics of gemstones: both colored stones, as well as diamonds, will always show tell tale signs of being treated (enhanced) or heated by a trained eye.
A Gemologist would be the safest bet to get a professional assessment because many of the treatments can only be seen through a microscope.
Treatments have distinct patterns indicating the use of heat or fracture filling. If a stone is indeed suspected to be treated, this must be disclosed and the price should reflect a substantial drop in value.
Some stones such as emeralds are traditionally soaked in oil to stabilize them for long term storage, however, this is not to be confused with utilizing an oil that has a colorant included for enhancement.
This can be easily seen through a loop; the stone will fade over time and use.
How much does it cost to size a ring up or down?
Ring sizing can range from $20 (sizing down) to $350 sizing upwards.
The factors depend on the width of the shank, the type or purity of metal, or the difficulty (risk factor) in sizing a ring which has a complex gallery ( antique filigree) that could implode and cause damage while bending the metal.
While most womens rings measure around 3mm in the narrowest part of the shank, there are rings such as cigar style or wide mens rings that would need to use a fair amount of additional metal to accomplish the task.
Sizing down simply means a clean cut in the shank and then to reassemble the two ends after removing the extra piece of material.
You would be paying for this labor, but no added cost for metal would be needed. An experienced goldsmith knows instantly if a ring sizing is going to cause an issue.
Most issues involve a ring that needs to go up many sizes resulting in an oblong rather than round shank, rings with stones that are channel set which can result in loosening the stones, or rings with concave galleries which are limited on how far the metal can be safely moved around.
It cannot hurt to get two or three estimates if you think the price is excessive.
Why am I seeing "junk" inside a stone when I look at it through a loupe?
The junk that you see inside a gemstone or diamond can be caused by:
- A) natural inclusions specific to the type of stone, and a specific grade should be assigned to it.
- B) a stone that was excessively treated by using fracture filling or heating.
- C) a stone that is dirty or has bits of polishing material that needed to be cleaned better…or
- D) a stone that was burned by heat treatment resulting in a brownish coating that would need to be professionally polished off.
Some stones are just not very good to look at if you see them under magnification, but may be okay to the naked eye.
Can I trade some of my old jewelry for something I like in your store?
However, keep in mind that we will have to examine what you want to trade and quickly determine whether or not there is a good market or customer base to justify such a deal.
Otherwise, you can expect the liquid market value of the materials.
Sometimes we may be willing to put your items on consignment to help you sell them at a better price than melt value.
If you have items that were made during the Art Deco Era, or are heavily weighted in higher karat gold, you have a far better chance to make such a trade.
Is there a way to get rid of chips or cracks in my gemstone?
You can get rid of chips and cracks in gemstones depending on the size of the chip and the serious nature of “cracks”.
Some cracks are nothing but deep natural inclusions or feather inclusions that look like cracks. The risk of doing nothing needs to be weighed against devaluing the stone by filling it with glass to give it strength and conceal the inclusion.
- A chip on the table (top) of the stone, if not too deep, can be professionally recut or polished out. Again, you must get a few estimates and weigh the cost.
- A chip on the girdle (outer edge) of a stone is most common and can also be more easily cut out.
Any time you send out a stone to recut it to remove a crack or chip, you will lose a little weight as well as a little of the size.
Are there stones that should not be cleaned if I buy myself a home sonic cleaner?
You will need to look up your gemstone and act accordingly.
Never put pearls, emeralds, or opals into a sonic cleaner. These stones have natural fragile inclusions and fissures, or, in the case of pearls, a nacre which can peel off in layers and/or turn dull and ruin an otherwise beautiful luster.
It is better to simply clean pearls with a damp cloth and have them professionally restrung once the stringing becomes obviously soiled.
Opals and emeralds have a tendency to dry out when exposed to soaps, heat and sunlight, so it is best to wear them more sparingly rather than to need to clean them and dry them out further.
Further, emeralds and opals are very fragile because they have deep layers of material that can easily result in cracking or crazing because of the heat of the sonic cleaner alone.
Can I soak my pearls in water to clean them?
If you soak your pearls in water to clean them, you can expect them to crack in half or flake off pieces/layers of nacre at some point.
Pearls, in order to wear them, usually have some type of drilling through the natural nacre layers which would then allow water to get inside and swell the material.
I now like white gold better than yellow gold…is there a way to change it?
Jewelry can be plated or overlaid with other metals to change the appearance.
One word of caution: If it is a ring, the plating will wear down faster if you wear it everyday as opposed to if it is a pair of earrings or necklace.
Friction is the enemy of plating, and you may get 6 months of wear before you notice the yellow gold peeking through on the shank. It goes steadily downhill after that.
That said, if you find it less expensive to indulge your newfound taste and opt to have it plated rather than to buying all new pieces, you can always change your mind in the future and revert back to its original metal composition rather easily and inexpensively.
Why are some gemstones more expensive than diamonds?
Gemstones are often priced higher per carat than diamonds due to their rarity, and especially whether or not they are completely natural or have been heated to enhance clarity.
A 1 carat ruby that is well cut and untreated can command the same or higher price as a diamond of comparable weight.
Color of gemstones, clarity and cut factor into their value as well.
95% of natural gemstones on the market today have been artificially enhanced in some way to make them more dramatic in appearance, but the cost should reflect this fact.
You should expect to pay a high premium for a gemstone which is not enhanced, and it should be appraised by a board Certified Graduate Gemologist who has no conflict of interest.